I’ve been on the dating scene for many years now. I have a great life that I love, which includes lots of friends and family members.
Despite all of that, I have a deep longing to meet a special someone to share my life with. As amazing as my friends and family are, it’s not the same as having a plus one to journey through daily life with and share a bed with at the end of the day.
Not having this person in my life makes me sad. Not consistently sad, but it seems to be growing bigger the more years I’m single.
I’ve been on many, many dates over the last 5+ years. I’m not finding anyone online that I even like the look of and would be interested in going on a date with. I’m starting to think that there are no decent guys out there (which is not usually my mindset) and that I’m going to be alone forever and this thought makes me even more upset.
I’m wanting to know what strategies you used to stay optimistic when dating those 121 men? Did you feel optimistic? Were there times you felt you were never going to find someone?
Annie. I. — Seattle, WA
Thank you for your question, and for the vivid reminder of exactly how it feels when you’re single for a long spell.
YES! I felt every one of the things you’re feeling right now—hundreds of times over the course of my decade-long journey to get to my person.
Not having a partner to witness and share in daily life was one of the hardest parts of single life for me, and it sounds like that’s something you’re struggling with as well. Having an amazing community of family and friends creates that strong foundation for “happy single life,” but you’re right, you do end up longing for that one special person who witnesses your life, day in and day out. I managed that desire by having anywhere from one to three people whom I talked to almost every single day. My bff, Leslie, was most often this person for me, as I was for her.
Do you have a single friend that’s up for this? It definitely got me through.
Another way I managed to get through the dating scene for ten years and 121 first dates (and a zillion second, third, etc. dates) was…
I told myself one story.
I didn’t tell it all the time. I didn’t tell it every day. But I told it enough.
I told it when I was happy.
I told it when I was desperate.
I told it when I was losing hope.
And that story was, “Someday, I’m going to look back at this time, and I’ll be so grateful. Because while this is hard and sometimes painful, it will have all been worth it.”
Do you know what?
I was right.
I love my amazing, kinda weird, totally magical life. And I would have never had it without Dave (Mr. 121). Part of what makes my life magic is the delightful community that fell into place after Dave and I became a couple. Our beloved group of friends came together because of my mad skills at making and keeping good friends and family around when I was single—just like you.
So…it’s coming. And your partnered life is going to be bigger and better than you ever imagined, in no small part because of the rich life you already lead now.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty about how to get some forward momentum going when slogging through the minutia of dating profiles.
You’re feeling like “there’s no one I’m attracted to” and “there are no good guys.” These are stories you’re telling yourself. Don’t worry, we all tell these stories—I told them to myself from time to time. But you say this like OKCupid only has a finite number of guys and you’ve seen every single one of them when the truth is that pool gets replenished every second of every day. You haven’t seen them all; it just feels like you have when you’re burnt out and have a serious case of raccoon eyes from staring at the computer screen for too long. Take a little breather for twenty minutes, grab something to drink and take a walk, and remind yourself that in those twenty minutes, 147 new guys just joined.
When you tell yourself these “no good guys” stories, it’s all you see—what you don’t want.
If there’s no one appealing to you, consider the possibility that you’re skipping over some really good guys and you don’t even know it. You might think “nah” at first glance, but if you took a moment to read his profile or met him for coffee, you just might see his spirit and essence shine through.
Some of the best dates and a few of my near-misses had terrible photos on their profile, or they didn’t say enough in their summary. One of my favorites actually had the absolute worst photos I’d ever seen! Such a good writer, though, so I had to take a chance. And when I met him in person, he was really sexy.
Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever shared with anyone. Mr. 121? Yeah, his dating profile was about an hour old when I saw it. He was brand new at this dating thing. You didn’t get any greener than him. His one and only photo didn’t show his face or his body. I saw the back of his head (in a hat — lucky for him I like hats) while he was playing keyboards. A terrible photo for sorting. But I liked the way he wrote, so I reached out.
Try taking a chance on people. Maybe there’s something that you think you don’t want, but after you have it, you discover it was exactly what you needed.
Hide the profiles of guys that are a definite “hell no” so you don’t keep seeing not-my-guy every time you open the homepage to your dating site.
And lastly, it happens when it happens. I’m sorry finding your guy is taking longer than you thought it would, but he’s going to show up when he shows up. And when he does, everything changes. And it happens in an instant.
Keep going, and good luck out there!